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Skeptics and Global Warming

I managed to get quoted by the Skeptics Guide to the Universe on Global Warming. I don't think he quoted me well, but hey, that is what I get for attempting to write a short email on a complicated subject.

Dr. Novella went on to describe how increased CO2 could result in increased temperatures even though Saturation of the CO2 absorption spectrum has pretty much already occurred.


is a link to the podcast if anyone is interested.

Why is the bandwagon of AGW getting so full of skeptics. Phil Plait, James Randi, Michael Shermer, the SGU gang are all apparently on board with it, yet the science behind it behaves so much like what they are skeptical of. Small changes resulting in HUGE problems.

Re: Skeptics and Global Warming

"Why is the bandwagon of AGW getting so full of skeptics?"

Perhaps,it is because there are people,like myself, that can look North out of their kitchen window and realize that 20,000 years ago they would have been looking at a wall of ice 1 mile high.

Mankind had nothing to do with the vanishing of that wall of ice or anything that has happened since.

Re: Skeptics and Global Warming

It may be a bit pedantic, but I find the use of the word 'skeptic' as it is often used on the internet rather confusing. This is the sort of definition I have grown up with:

"sceptic or US skeptic [skep-tik]
1. a person who habitually doubts generally accepted beliefs
2. a person who doubts the truth of a religion [Greek skeptikos one who reflects upon]"

So you can only be a sceptic in regard to a generally accepted belief or to religion. AGW is a generally accepted belief so you can be an AGW sceptic.

Now thanks to the internet another definition of sceptic or skeptic seems to have got itself established mainly through a Usenet newsgroup called sci.skeptic. For people who aren't familiar with the newsgroup this is their FAQ:

From reading the FAQ, being a skeptic seems to mean not believing in things like psychic powers, UFOs/flying saucers, faith healing and alternative therapies, creationism, fire-walking, New Age beliefs, free energy and anti-gravity devices and alternative AIDS theories. I'd say that none of those are generally accepted beliefs in the UK, so if you don't believe in them you can't go as far as calling yourself a sceptic. They're minority views and the word 'debunker' might be more appropriate. Creationism is strongly connected with religion, so it might be possible to use the word sceptic for that specific case.

Re: Re: Skeptics and Global Warming

The US magazine Skeptical Enquirer has been published since 1976, which looks into paranormal beliefs, "UFOlogy", conspiracy theories and the like. This pre-dates Usenet by a number of years.

Re: Re: Re: Skeptics and Global Warming

You're right that the sci.skeptic type use of the word 'skeptic' originally comes from the "Skeptical Inquirer" magazine, but sci.skeptic have definitely popularised this particular interpretation of the word on the internet. The sci.skeptic people didn't really just stick to their own newsgroup, as I remember it they also 'patrolled' the rest of Usenet looking for kooks and cranks to denounce, like a scientific version of the Taleban.

The Skeptical Inquirer magazine was founded in 1976, as you say, but it was originally more thoughtfully called "The Zetetic". The word zetetic is a bit of an obscure word, it means a seeker or 'proceeding by inquiry' ( ). The founding editor had a bust-up with the CSICOP committee and was replaced by another editor who gradually moved the zetetic word out of the title: first it changed to "The Zetetic The Skeptical Inquirer" then to "The Skeptical Inquirer The Zetetic" and finally to "The Skeptical Inquirer." Now skeptical is a simpler word to use than zetetic, particularly for somebody trying to sell a magazine, but in its normal English sense it means questioning whatever is currently officially accepted, and the Skeptical Inquirer doesn't question anything that is officially accepted.

Re: Skeptics and Global Warming


Interesting segue way from sleep walking to global warming. I doubt that the Skeptics Panel know much about how greenhouse gases work. The biggest bugaboo is that the atmosphere isn't warming. GHGs work by absorbing energy (in the infrared region). Everything else in the physical world gets warmer when it absorbs energy (if a temperature can be defined, the temperature goes up). For the GHG effect to work, the atmosphere must be warmer, which in turn makes the surface warmer. The atmosphere isn't warming (at least not according to model predictions). This is actually a disproof of the GHG theory. You'll notice that there are lots of papers trying to circumvent this problem (and it's a major problem). One paper claims that there are winds blowing the warmer air away. Another paper claims that the satellite data are wrong. I don't have to change the subject with this, but the AGW believers do.


Re: Skeptics and Global Warming

Brad might have warned us that the relevant bit came at the end. I listened for what seemed hours to the waffling of these insufferable, smug, vulgar bores. They are no more sceptics than they are Martians. When it came, it was just a rerun of the usual stuff. He was accusing his opponents of the very sins he was committing: changing ground etc. It was presented as though it were a debate, but it was a monologue. Carbon dioxide was put up as a straw man, when the kernel of the sceptical case is that its contribution is negligible. Discussing the so-called greenhouse effect without mentioning water vapour is Hamlet without the prince. They are still feverishly trying to cover up the fact that their prediction did not happen.

Re: Re: Skeptics and Global Warming

Given that the AGW hoax is all about the worship of the false goddess Gaia, perhaps heretic might be the better word. If you don't worship at her altar, then you are heretical, and will be punished for being so.

Re: Re: Re: Skeptics and Global Warming

AGW - you believe the world is going to burn up and it is all your fault; you have a wildly exaggerated estimation of the consequences of your actions; you cling to this view in the teeth of reason, evidence and common sense. Everything you see or hear, however contradictory it may appear, can be interpreted so as to fit in with your Theory. You are frantically active, trying to fill in all the details of your Theory. People who try to dispute with you are wicked, devious plotters, in the pay of some secret global orgainsation of evildoers. You would like to silence them before disaster strikes. Paranoid schizophrenia, anyone?